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Acting with Real Emotions

Updated: May 2, 2023

It is an actor's responsibility to entertain by communicating real feelings. Yes, actors pretend when portraying a character. However, viewers want to see actors being real. Actors must use real emotions from within their instrument, which is their body and life experiences. If an actor should be happy or sad, they should not pretend as though they are. The actor gives real emotion to their scene partner and receives real emotions from the other actor to tell an authentic story.

3 Ways an Actor can show Real Emotions

1. In an article titled How Actors Create Emotions, a Problematic Psychology shares that actors must do real work—build real worlds—to temporarily convince themselves and others of the veracity of unreal circumstances. Yet they must be mindful of how much of their own lives and experiences they imbue their characters with, something they only began to do a handful of decades ago.

2. Second, In an article titled How to Portray Emotions, Cathryn Hartt shares, For tears, slump or hold onto your body in a defeated or protective way. Perhaps even collapse a bit. I suggest audible breathing as if you can’t catch your breath. Make the ugly sounds you make when you cry. Let your voice be ugly and broken. Let your face become ugly. Be willing to be unattractive.

3. Lastly, in an article titled How To Show & Convey Real Emotions when Acting? - A Practical Tutorial states that an actor should Understand the Character. It also shares that, When practicing acting a scene behave like someone else unlike yourself. It is like wearing a masquerade of totally another person and then taking it off when acting stops. Either you are gifted with this skill set, or you can develop it by practicing. To practice it, you need to ask yourself how the character should react to this situation? How did the character think when he was in that situation? How should the character look when he is reacting with his voice, tone, feeling, posture, body movements, and habits the character should do in a specific situation. Consider the overall character’s personality as sometimes the character doesn’t have that much complex personality. But, could be a normal personality, with some exceptions. In this case, you could also practice acting like yourself if the character seems to be close to your personality.

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